File Sharing 101

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Most college students will tell you that work-study funds, server tips, and money from home don’t stretch very far when there are books, food, and clothing to buy. Who has money left over to purchase music? Better yet, why buy it when you can download it for free?

If you’re stumped, here are a few reasons why you should acquire your music legally:

  • Because if you don't, you're a thief.
  • Because if you don't, you could potentially be committing a felony.
  • Because if you don’t, you could be suspended from DCC
  • Because if you don't, you could have to pay up to $4,000 to settle a lawsuit.

An online pirate is anyone — young, old, student, working professional, retiree — who downloads copyrighted music, movies, games, or software from the Internet without permission and without paying for it. In case you didn't know, that's illegal. Why? Because that material is someone's creative work. Someone owns the work on those files and must give his or her permission before anyone else can use them.

Using a peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing network to download or upload songs seems convenient, but it is indeed unlawful. No matter what end of the illegal file sharing process you are on — downloading, uploading, or both — you are putting yourself at risk.

Even if you're not worried about getting caught, stealing is still stealing, and you know its wrong. All of the people that go into making a CD work very hard on it. Imagine if you wrote a paper that took an entire semester, then you found it floating around on the Internet, where thousands of students were stealing it. You wouldn't like it.

There are endless cheap and legal sites to download music, TV shows, and movies from. Give one of these legal services a try.

Getting your media from legal sources also offers benefits:

  • There is no violation of copyright infringement, so no risk of being fined or incarcerated.
  • A variety of the latest and most popular music is available from legal paid websites, so you can get high-quality recordings from reliable sources.
  • You don't have to worry about downloading viruses and malware when you download from legal sites.
  • The prices on legal sites are relatively inexpensive, outweighing the hefty costs you could take on if you're sued for illegal downloading.

It just makes more sense to play fair.

*Used with permission from PlayFair by the University of Maryland

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